Ngari Prefecture

Ngari Prefecture (Tibetan: མངའ་རིས་ས་ཁུལ་, Wylie: mnga' ris sa khul; simplified Chinese: 阿里地区; traditional Chinese: 阿里地區; pinyin: Ālǐ Dìqū) is a prefecture of China's Tibet Autonomous Region. Its capital is Gar County. Its administrative centre and largest settlement is Shiquanhe. Parts of the border of Ngari with India are part of the Sino-Indian border dispute.

Ngari was once the heart of the ancient kingdom of Guge. Later Ngari, along with Ü and Tsang, composed Ü-Tsang, one of the traditional provinces of Tibet, the others being Amdo and Kham.

The lowlands of Ngari is known as Maryul. During the 10th century, the kingdom of Maryul was founded, taking the name Ladakh, lasted until 1842.

The prefecture has close cultural links with Kinnaur and Lahaul and Spiti district of the bordering Indian province of Himachal Pradesh.[1]

The paved Xinjiang-Tibet Highway (新藏公路) passes through this area. There are well-known prehistoric petroglyphs near the far western town of Rutog.

The town of Ngari lies 4,500 metres (14,800 ft) above sea level in northwest Tibet some 1,600 kilometres (990 mi) west of the capital, Lhasa. Ngari Gunsa Airport began operations on July 1, 2010, becoming the fourth civil airport in Tibet (shortening the trip to Lhasa to one-and-a-half hours from three or four days by car) along with Lhasa Gonggar Airport in Lhasa, Qamdo Bamda Airport in Chamdo and Nyingchi Mainling Airport.[2]

Ngari is best known for Mount Kailash, also called Sumeru, and Lake Manasarovar. Mount Kailash is 6,714 m (22,028 ft) above sea level and is the main peak of the Transhimalaya (also called the Kailash Range or Gangdisê Mountains). The holy mountain and lake are associated with a number of religions: Buddhism, Hinduism, and Bon, among others, attracting numerous domestic and international religious pilgrims and tourists. Surrounding Mount Kailash are four ancient and famous monasteries: Zhabura, Chiu Gompa, Zheri and Zhozhub. Manasarovar lies 4,588 m (15,052 ft) above sea level, covers an area of 412 km2 (159 sq mi) and reaches a maximum depth of 70 m (230 ft).

Ngari has a cold desert climate (Köppen climate classification: BWk), with strong dry-winter subarctic climate tendencies (Köppen climate classification: Dwc).

Ali Prefecture is subdivided into seven county-level divisions: seven counties.